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Monthly Archives: April 2012

Have you ever experienced that feeling of making a new friend too fast? That sensation that you ought to pull away from someone cause you?  That, maybe, even though things have gone smoothly so far, its still risky to be going out on a limb so fast for someone so new?

I’m not talking about an acquaintance here. Not that ‘oh this person was interesting I’d like to get to know them better’ feeling or the ‘we have a lot in common feeling’ but the actual transformation from being a name you’d vaguely heard of into a proper – trusted – friend within days.

I’ve had that sensation twice that has stuck in my recollection. Both times were such different experiences.

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The Romans had a fine tradition of never presuming to write a man’s (it was always a man’s)  biography until he died. I have become convinced of the wisdom of this tradition.

Death changes how we understand life.

Death is the final point within any individuals story. We know that wherever the narrative arc begins, no matter where we find the stage of the story now, its ultimate destination is death’s door.

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Recently, I’ve started reading comic books. I got interested in comic books because I watched the AMC TV series Comic Book Men. CBM is a one-hour unscripted television series set inside Kevin Smith‘s comic book shop Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash in Red Bank, New Jersey.

What hooked me about the show was how enthusiastic and passionate everyone is about comic books.

When you come across someone who has real passion for something it transforms how you look at that thing. It rewrites your low-level understanding of it from something that exists (but you don’t particularly know or care that it exists) into something that has depth, nuance, variety and life all of its own. Everything is more alive when you find someone whose passion and knowledge brings it to life before your eyes. Someone who can convey that passion to you through the tone of their voice, the look in their eyes and the breathless catch in their throat.

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You start reading enough fantasy and science fiction novels (and I’ve discovered I like fantasy) you start to see a pattern carved into the generic heart of the genre.

Somehow it seems to be important to forge a protagonist through a particular series of  harsh fires. As if somehow, being unable to have the normal upbringing that most people encounter is a pre-condition to being exceptional.

That pattern has the following cut:

It still shocks me how little planning I encounter everyday. And how unwilling people are to plan. It’s amazing how people just don’t want to accept that a plan might be necessary. Even when things which are fixed, regular and predictable end up causing chaos.

There is a fiction that a plan has to be a grand thing. It has to be coordinated, canvassed, shared, discussed, launched, focus-grouped, drafted, reviewed, revised, incorporated, updated, seek buy-in, obtain input, circulated in draft, re-revised, perfected, issued, implemented, two-week review, three-week review, one month review, revised, re-revised and so on.

Most frustrating, after going through the months of delay to prepare an exquisite plan, is how rarely the plan is graced with matching action. As if the whole reason to have a plan is to say you have a plan and then do what you intended to do all along anyway. In which case, why waste all that time generating a plan?

And  yes I understand why. Human foibles like wanting approval, wanting public endorsement, wanting to have colleague support, perfectionism, ambition and avarice, loosing sight of the goal, the desire to one-up the other and so on  play a part in causing such behaviour.

But, say that you’re that person who actually wants to achieve what they said they’d do and not just talk impressive sounding horse-shit. How do you go about doing that?

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